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Elements of a Strategic Plan

Mike Langlois | Wednesday, November 17, 2021

In 2018 (if you can remember anything pre-COVID), I wrote on the process of developing a three-to-five-year healthcare supply chain strategic plan. The healthcare industry has certainly changed drastically since then. During this Fall’s Senior Executive Forum, we discussed the process of developing a strategic plan. In this article, we’ll dive into the content included in strategic plans.

As a supply chain leader at Ascension Health, Resurrection Healthcare, and Beaumont Health, I wrote several strategic plans and received much positive feedback. In addition to sharing with you what I included in my strategic plans, I’m happy to offer copies of one or all of the plans to anyone interested.

Let’s begin with the basics. A strategic plan is a broad stroke of plans that spans multiple years and includes a mission, vision, and values statement closely aligning with your organization.

However, it does not include specific goals, such as savings targets, staff turnover rates, and customer service scores. Those goals are left to be established on a year-to-year through clearly defined objectives.

Strategic plans are designed to offer a roadmap for those within and outside your areas of responsibility, describing your organization’s goals over the next three to five years. With a strategic plan in place, internal and external staff can develop strategic ideas and priorities to support that overall plan.

Below are the major elements I believe should be included in a supply chain strategic plan. I have included many of these elements in my previous strategic plans.

  • Mission, Vision & Values Statement
  • Organization of Supply Chain
    • Talent Recruitment
    • Talent Retention
  • Sourcing Strategy
    • Relationship with Group Purchasing Organization
    • Addressing the Supply Chain Interruption Issues
      • Domestic Sourcing
      • Multi-Supplier Sourcing
    • Engagement of Clinical Staff
    • Supplier Partnerships
  • Contract Compliance Strategy
    • Incentives for Contract Compliance
    • Penalties for Contract Compliance
  • Breadth of Contract Coverage     
    • Supplies
    • Purchase Services
    • Facilities & Construction
    • Real Estate
    • Physician/Outsourced Clinical Services
  • Operational Efficiencies
    • Optimize Utilization/Standardization
    • Staff Performance Metrics
    • Benchmarking
    • Inventory Management
      • Consolidated Service Center
      • Point of Use
  • Integrated Scorecard Measure
    • What to Measure
    • How to Measure
    • What to do with Key Metrics
  • Enterprise Data Management
    • Enterprise Resource Planning System
    • Warehouse Management System
    • Point of Use System
    • Analytical Tools
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Communication
    • Supply Staff
    • Internal Customers
    • Suppliers/Other External Constituents

There are potentially many other elements to a supply chain strategic plan. The above list is a guide and should be tailored based on each supply chain leader’s breadth of responsibility.

As you write your strategic plan, it is critical to describe each element to the point a non-supply chain expert can have a good picture of what the supply chain will look like and how it will operate over the next several years.

Finally, this plan should not be considered a stagnant document. Leverage your strategic plan as a guide when making key decisions throughout the year and frequently ask “Does this support the strategic plan?”

As organizations change through leadership transitions, mergers and acquisitions, and evolving market conditions, your strategic plan should be reviewed during each key milestone to ensure that it still aligns with the overall organizational strategic plan. As many of us review and revise our strategic plans following the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s high time to elevate practical strategic planning.

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